The Big Car Database

Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow 1933

Pierce Silver Arrow
1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow 3133c.jpg
Manufacturer Pierce-Arrow
Production 1933
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style Sedan
Engine V-12

The Pierce Silver Arrow was a concept car designed by Phillip O.

Wright, of which five were built in a record three months, and introduced at the 1933 New York Auto Show


3D image of a Silver Arrow

The car caused an absolute sensation, with a futuristic design, spare wheels hidden behind the front wheels, a wide-degree angle V-12 and a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h). Five production models were built, but they resembled a more typical Pierce-Arrow and lacked many of the unique features shown in New York. Only three Silver Arrows exist today.

160 bhp, 429 cu. in. side-vale L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptical leaf-spring suspension and ball bearing shackles, and four-wheel Stewart-Warner power-assisted drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139 in.

  • The car that inaugurated the streamlined automotive age
  • Recognized as the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair show car
  • Formerly owned by D. Cameron Peck and Henry Austin Clark Jr.
  • One of three known survivors of five originally built
  • An impossibly rare and desirable CCCA Full Classic


On May 27, 1933, 427 sparkling acres of the best technology that man could produce opened to the world in Burnham Park on the Lake Michigan shoreline of Chicago. Dubbed “A Century of Progress,” the 1933 World’s Fair brought the world’s achievements to the Windy City. The Graf Zeppelin drifted in from Germany, the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game played at Comiskey Park, and the streamlined Zephyr train made a record-breaking dash into town for display.

Most dazzling for car enthusiasts was undoubtedly the Travel and Transport Building, which showcased the best and, frequently, most expensive automobiles that America had to offer. There was the one-off Duesenberg Model SJ Torpedo Sedan, nicknamed “Twenty Grand” for its cost in 1933 dollars, and Packard’s advanced V-12-powered Sport Sedan, known as the “Car of the Dome” for its central position in the building. Cadillac presented a sleek fastback Aero-Dynamic Coupe with no fewer than 16 cylinders.

Even among this rarefied company, Pierce-Arrow’s Silver Arrow stood out. Its creation was a meeting of the minds of youthful stylist Phillip O. Wright and new Pierce-Arrow President Roy Faulkner. Based upon a 139-inch-wheelbase, 12-cylinder chassis, it had an automatic clutch and power-assisted brakes, among other advances. But these advancements all paled in comparison to the gleaming silver coachwork, a streamlined design with a roof that covered, in one smooth plane, all of the way to the rear of the car; flush-fitting doors with door handles inset out of the airstream; and a “step-down” interior that predicted Cord by three years and Hudson by 15.

According to Paul J. Auman, the superintendent of Studebaker’s experimental body department, as quoted in the December 1999 issue of Collectible Automobile, the first Silver Arrow was sent to New York in time for the Automobile Show held there earlier in the year. The second, fourth, and fifth cars were sent to the Pierce-Arrow factory in Buffalo, New York, for various promotional uses. Meanwhile, this example, car number 3, was the one sent to Chicago for viewing at the “A Century of Progress” exhibition



submitted by Richard Owen
price $  $10 000 USD
engine Cast Iron, Water Cooled, 80 Degree, V12
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain 2 Side Valves per Cyl
displacement 7566 cc / 461.7 in³
bore 88.9 mm / 3.5 in
stroke 101.6 mm / 4.0 in
compression 6.1:1
power 130.5 kw / 175.0 bhp
specific output 23.13 bhp per litre
bhp/weight bhp per tonne
torque 237.27 nm / 175.0 ft lbs
body / frame Steel over Ladder Frame
driven wheels RWD
front tires 7.5×17
rear tires 7.5×17
front brakes Drums w/Servo Assist
f brake size x 406 mm / x 16.0 in
rear brakes Drums w/Servo Assist
r brake size x 406 mm / x 16.0 in
steering Cam & Roller
f suspension Rigid Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Springs, Shock Absorbers
r suspension Live Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Springs, Shock Absorbers
curb weight 2314 kg / 5101 lbs
wheelbase 3530 mm / 139.0 in
front track 1500 mm / 59.1 in
rear track 1560 mm / 61.4 in
transmission 3-Speed Manual
gear ratios 2.83:1, 1.70:1, 1.00:1, :1
final drive 4.21:1
top speed ~185.1 kph / 115.0 mph